ST PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) – It only took a few seconds. A man walks away from his car to go inside a store. He doesn’t lock it and leaves the keys in plain sight. Within seconds, another car pulls up, several people jump out of their car and into his, the car gone in less than 30 seconds.
Car thefts have happened at least 11 times at two locations since July 1st, in St. Petersburg. There is even one case where a woman was putting air in her tires and the criminal made off with her car while she was doing it.
“You got kids 14, 15 years old driving vehicles and again they’re not following traffic,” said St Petersburg Police Sergeant Brian Taylor.
He added that a lot of the thefts are now the result of new technology. Taylor said keyless entry is making people and property more vulnerable.
“It opens up a whole new set of cars now for these young kids. So it’s no longer just a Chrysler, we have 14, 15-year-olds driving around in Audis, Mercedes and BMWs,” Taylor said.
Police said people could be right next to their vehicle, with the key fob in your pocket and the thief would jump in take off with just the push of a button.
“It’s made us all a little bit more lazy I think. You know walking away from our vehicles and not turning them off… the push to start where you can get out of the vehicle to put gas in it, the car is still running. People need to understand now that there is someone paying attention to you. If they catch you not paying attention and leaving your stuff running, it only takes like what, 2-3 seconds to jump in, put it in drive and off they go.”